19 December 1920: First assembly session of the League of Nations


British Representatives Will Oppose Any Mandate Declarations by Assembly
GENEVA, Dec. 18. — The first meeting of the league of nations assembly closed this evening in a burst of eloquence in a rather agitated debate.
In farewell speeches Paul Hymans, president of the assembly, and Dr. Guiseppi Moita, president of Switzerland, declared the first assembly had proved the league was a living organization and a success. The opinion expressed by many of the delegates is that the assembly has done all that could be expected of it, if not more.
Several pet projects have met with disaster; yet there are few, if any, delegates who remained for the entire assembly that will leave dissatisfied with the work.
The final day was marked by another encounter between the English delegates and those of the British dominions. Lord Robert Cecil, acting for South Africa, and C. J. Doherty, for Canada, provoked an aggressive and significant declaration by A. J. Balfour to the effect that if the assembly adopted any recommendations concerning mandates he and his successor on the league council would pay no attention to them.
Lord Robert Cecil and Mr. Doherty criticized the council for holding back information about mandates and supported the recommendations of the mandates committee, the most important of which were that the assembly express the opinion that the resources of the territories under mandate should not be exploited by the mandatories for their own profit or for the profit of th eallies, and that the recruiting of troops should not be allowed in such territories.
The recommendations were adopted unanimously, Mr. Balfour contenting himself by saying they would have no effect, instead of voting against them. Esperanto fell a victim to a sharp assault by Gabriel Hanotaux (unclear)…the committee reported in favor of an expression by the assembly with the object of encouraging the teaching of Esperanto in the public schools with a view of making it eventually an international language and the language of the league. After a debate the assembly voted against the proposal.
M. Hymans, in his closing speech, dwelt on the fact that the session of the assembly demonstrated to all the value of the league.
“The league has developed a consciousness,” he said, “and now resolves to live, and will live. Through th esetting up of an international court of justice the assembly has established a house of rights and a palace of peace.”
The activities of the assembly respecting typhus, he declared to be a magnificent demonstration of human solidarity. When the assembly spoke of disarmament, M. Hymans said, the members displayed keen anxiety to lift the weight of armaments from the world, but at the same time realized that in the present unsettled condition of Europe nothing better could be done than had been.
He referred to the fraternal spirit shown by the assembly, the members of which were separated only by shades of opinion, not by principles. He appealed to the youth, the men of tomorrow, those who fought in the great war to construct a moral world indispensable to the future of mankind, and concluded:
“Let us continue our ascending march toward the stars.”

Published in: on December 19, 2010 at 7:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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